Tell us a little about yourself, Troy.
I was born and raised in Calgary where I started working in the film industry in 1996, at age 22, as a production assistant on the TV Series Viper. That was the start of a, now, 21-year career on both sides of the camera.
I worked as an Assistant Director for the better part of a decade, and in 2005 sought the greener pastures of Vancouver. About a year and a half after moving here, I decided to leave ADing behind and focus on being an actor.
I started working as a background performer to fill the gaps in between auditions and found myself working as a stand-in on Smallville for 3 years. That job came about after I’d been working as Michael (Lex Luthor) Rosenbaum’s personal assistant during his final season of the show. After he left, I needed a job, and Justin (Green Arrow) Hartley joined the show as a regular, and they needed a Stand-in for him.
I booked a few acting gigs here and there, and after Smallville ended, really refocused myself on acting.
Each year since the opportunities and roles have continued to build. About a year ago I started getting work as a stunt performer. While still living in Calgary, I taught sword fighting and participated in armored combat shows and tournaments. I was able to parlay that skill set to open the door into the stunt world, and have been very fortunate in the past year with regards to booking gigs. My first stunt gig was actually sword fighting on the Camelot/3000 episode of Legends of Tomorrow. Since then, I’ve done stunts on shows like Supernatural, Van Helsing, Man in the High Castle and Magicians.
Where do your ancestors originate from?
While my last name is German, I am mostly of Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English ancestry.
Last year my wife (Ash) and I did one of those DNA ancestry tests and discovered how little German lineage I have. Alexander Rudolf immigrated to the US in the 1850’s, and apparently, that’s where the Germanic DNA stopped. As you can see, the spelling of my surname also changed over time.
My mother’s family is a sept of the Clan Sinclair, which is one of the oldest Clans in Scotland. So that’s who I affiliate with. Though my paternal grandmother was of Irish descent and an Irwin by birth, so I can also claim a connection to the Irvine clan. My mother’s family had been in the US since the 1600’s and came over on the second Mayflower, and like many Scots, we have a claim as cousins to Robert the Bruce. Both sides of my family came to Canada from the US. My Dad’s grandfather was born in Wisconsin, and my Mom’s dad was born in Kansas.
How long have you been an Outlander fan?
Photo by Matthew Hayden
I actually became an Outlander fan from the TV series. I’ve never read the books, but I was certainly aware of them. My sister-in-law, as well as a friend I used to work with, were both fans of the book series.
When I was in my 20’s, I had wavy, shoulder length, strawberry blond hair, and my sister-in-law told me once that she had envisioned Jamie Fraser as looking very much like me.
Have you ever visited any of the filming sites?
I visited Scotland for the first time last year with Ash and absolutely fell in love with it. The only filming site I know for sure that we visited was Culloden Moor.
Ash wasn’t as familiar with the history of Culloden as I was – and my initial exposure to it actually came via the Highlander TV Series – so it hadn’t been on our original itinerary, but I really wanted to see it and pay my respects. Afterwards, she was glad we’d gone and seen it.
What was really interesting and kind eerie was, while we were walking the battlefield, there were two horses roaming free. One was white and one was black, and they were running around and being playful with each other. We immediately equated the white horse with the Highlanders and the Black with the English ;)
You are a man of many talents, Troy. A stunt performer, an actor, a cosplayer, and historical re-enactments, Just to name a few. How do you manage your time to fit this all in?
It’s not easy. Luckily, there are “seasons” for my hobbies. The Renaissance Faire that I go to in Washington every summer (Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire) happens in the first 3 weekends of August, so that’s easy to plan for and around. Right now, the only conventions I regularly attend are Vancouver Fan Expo, Emerald City Comic Con, and Steamposium (in Seattle).
I tend to recycle cosplays as well as making new ones, but I have a hard time focusing on one project from start to finish, and always have several cosplay projects on the go at any one time. I think the only 2 cosplays that I was able to work consistently on from start to finish were my Mad Hatter from Once Upon a Time and my Salazar Slytherin. Both were kind of short notice builds, so I didn’t have time to procrastinate. That being said, I was still working on my Mad Hatter coat right up until I had to leave for the convention (with zero sleep, as I’d worked through the night).
Salazar Slytherin came about in kind of a fun way. Ash and I had gone to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in LA for her birthday, along with some of her family and her best friend, Brett. Brett hadn’t really been exposed to Harry Potter too much at that point, but after visiting the park she burned through all of the books and became just as obsessed as Ash and me.
After finishing the books and movies, Brett suggested to Ash that they cosplay as Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw for Emerald City Comic Con. Ash immediately followed up with “Well, I’m pretty sure we can get Troy to be Salazar Slytherin”. She was right, it took zero convincing. I then enlisted my friend Xander to be Godric Gryffindor. One aspect of this group cosplay that we all love is, we’re each representing the founder of the house we’ve actually been sorted into.
What would be one of your most memorable moments as a cosplayer?
Definitely walking the floor of ECCC with Ash, Brett, and Xander as the Hogwarts Founders. People were absolutely losing their minds when they saw us. Usually, someone would spot one of us and slowly make the connection that all 4 of us were there, and get exponentially more excited.
What was really great about that was, all of the costumes were original designs. We used the house colors in our depiction, but with no on-screen portrayal of them (outside of the talking portraits at the theme park), there was no official reference for how the Founders looked, and yet everybody recognized us immediately. I’ve never had so many photos taken of one of my cosplays in my entire life.
More recently, at Vancouver Fan Expo, a very excited young woman was practically hyperventilating when she saw us and approached each of us asking for a hug from the Founders. Having that kind of an impact on someone, because you made and wore a costume, is amazing.
Who do you enjoy cosplaying the most?
Oooo, that’s tough. Salazar Slytherin is probably my favorite costume that I’ve made, and have gotten the best response to.
Prof. Snape is a lot of fun as well though, especially around children. They usually want to come up to me but are too scared. I inevitably ask them if they’ve been doing their potions homework. The Doctor is always a blast, and one of the more comfortable costumes to wear.
Does your wife cosplay as well?
She does! She had just started doing more cosplay around the time we met. She had done Vin from the Brandon Sanderson “Mistborn” series, as well as a really great Forest Elf. Since then she’s added an awesome Melissandre from Game of Thrones, Amy Pond, Ravenclaw Hogwarts student, Jemma Simmons from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which REALLY impressed Elizabeth Henstridge), and obviously her Brilliant rendition of Rowena Ravenclaw.
She’s also put together some very impressive Steampunk outfits, and she participates with me at the Renaissance Faire every summer – which is actually where we met.
Are you planning on attending any of the Cons or shows as Jamie Fraser?
We’ve talked about it, and Ash has a pattern for a dress like what Claire wears in Scotland. We just have to find the time and material. For me, specifically, I need to find enough of Jamie’s tartan to make a Great Kilt, but also not break the bank.
Having AbbyShot’s Jamie coat certainly helps things along. I fell in love with the coat the moment I saw it onscreen and am thrilled to add it to my Tickle Trunk! Though, Ash was a little annoyed that I bought it, instead of letting her get it for me for Christmas.
(for any non-Canadians who have no idea what a Tickle Trunk is, look up “Mr. Dressup”)
Which event has been your favorite to date?
I love going to Emerald City Comic Con. Seeing all of the skill and artistry on display by the many cosplayers is pretty inspiring. One of my favorite things to do is give shout-outs to people who are wearing something obscure and probably not getting a lot of attention. One year, I spotted a guy dressed as “Kolchak, The Night Stalker” and complimented him on how great his costume looked. I think I made his day.
Written by Troy Rudolph
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